The whole process of making a new flower bed will just take a few hours. You may create a flower bed that improves with age by following a simple tiered strategy that nourishes the soil from the top down.
Planting annuals and perennials in a flower bed is a great way to add color and life to your yard. Plus, as any beekeeper or gardener knows, butterflies and other pollinators can’t survive without flowers, so making room for flowering plants is like putting out a mat for these helpful critters. A new flower bed is like a blank canvas, allowing you to plant whatever you like. The possibilities are practically limitless, but first, you have to construct something. If you put in the time and effort, you can transform your yard from drab to dazzling in no time.
Soil preparation can be intimidating for a first-time gardener. However, you can prepare your beds ready for planting by following a few simple procedures.
You might be making one of three different sorts of beds (click to skip to that explanation):
- A completely untouched, never-before-planted bed.
- An unplanted area of land that has previously been used for gardening.
- Somewhere that perennials, bulbs, and/or shrubs have already been planted.
Starting a Flower Bed
Checking for hidden utility lines should be the first step before digging a new flower bed or even planting a tree or bush. You can usually find a number to call to find out where these lines are located in your region. The appropriate contact information can be found by inquiring with your local government. You shouldn’t dig until you’ve located any buried public utility lines and any irrigation lines on your property.
There are a few things to think about before you dive in headfirst. These are the inquiries that must be resolved:
Where will it go?
Flower beds can be placed everywhere, from the garden to the front porch. A gazebo is a versatile garden accessory that may be set up in a variety of locations, including along a deck or porch, beneath a tree, or around a pond. It’s important to think about how close vehicles will be when planting near a driveway or along a curb, and if you live in an area where it becomes snowy in the winter, remember that salt spray can harm plants.
How much exposure does the bed have to the sun?
Annual flowers and other common bedding plants need at least six hours of sunlight per day to thrive. You can easily pick a location that receives only partial sunlight or even entirely shade, though your flower options will be more constrained.
What kind of soil do we have?
All around, annuals and perennials with flowers do best when planted in fertile, loamy soil that has had lots of compost added. You should prepare the bed for planting by raking away any rocks or other debris, breaking up any large clods of dirt, and then adding compost to the soil. If you want your plants to thrive, it’s also a good idea to conduct a soil test to determine what nutrients they could be lacking.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Planting Flowers
Get rid of the big weeds and the perennial ones first. This stage was quite quick because the huge weeds were simple to pull, and there weren’t many dandelions. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you can kill the weeds a month before planting by covering them with black plastic and then raking them up.
Annual weeds and tiny grasses can be ignored because they will be smothered by the thick coverings.
Second, top it over with a layer of high-quality soil that’s two to three inches thick. While not required, you can add some composted manure to this layer if you have any on hand.
Third, set the potted plants in their designated locations. As you might expect, transplanting plants around at this stage is far less of a hassle than doing so after digging holes.
I know this is the most difficult part. It may look barren now, but take it from someone who has transplanted more than her fair share of weedy plants: make some room for development. Perennials Shrubs are permanent features, so give them room to develop to their full potential, ideally in a spot where you won’t need to prune them to control their size.
After you’ve settled on a location for your plants, move on to step four: actually digging the holes. Make the plant holes twice as big as the container, and incorporate part of the good soil and compost rather than digging the entire bed (which, to be honest, we’ve never done).
For bushes, in particular, we have found this to be really effective. Use a combination of the original soil and healthy compost to fill in the spaces surrounding your plants.
Never fill a hole entirely with new dirt; leave at least some of the old soil in there. If not, the roots can get used to the new soil and become stunted when they hit the old soil’s “wall.”
The roots will be more securely planted in the ground if the soil is tamped down around them (I actually use my foot, stepping around the plant gently).
Finally, water each plant well. Watering may cause the soil surrounding it to sink, in which case you can add some extra dirt to the area.
Make use of a drip irrigation system or a soaker hose, and set it up. Those of us without sprinkler systems will appreciate this advice, as it is essential for maintaining a lush garden with minimal effort.
The healthiest, most drought- and heat-resistant plants have deep roots, which can only grow with infrequent, deep watering. Unless you don’t have enough hose, place the hose near each plant rather than circling them.
Seven, protect the whole area by covering it with several sheets of newspaper or cardboard stacked on top of one another. We used cardboard, which lasted a little longer than newspaper because we weren’t going to be planting anything else in this bed very soon.
The top mulch layer can work as a fertilizer every time it rains or is watered when utilizing a layer that composts down in a few years.
Professional landscape cloth (very professional; don’t use the basic types, or you’ll create a bigger maintenance mess for yourself in a few years as the weeds just grow into it) can be used, but I recommend waiting several years after making the bed before laying it down. This will give the soil time to absorb all the nutrients.
It’s easy to be put off by the idea of constructing a flower bed from scratch, but in reality, any do-it-yourselfer or avid gardener can do it. When you’re standing in awe of your stunning blooms, all of the effort and time you put into planning, arranging, and preparing will seem worthwhile.